BROOKLYN, NY - The U.S. Department of Justice is sharing with the Republic of Peru approximately $686,000 in forfeited criminal proceeds linked to the corruption and bribery of former Peruvian President Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique (Toledo) by Odebrecht S.A. (Odebrecht), a Brazil-based global construction conglomerate.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Kenneth A. Polite Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, made the announcement.
“Civil forfeiture serves a critical role in depriving criminals of their ill-gotten gains, regardless of their status, and despite their efforts to conceal the proceeds of their offenses committed abroad,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office and the department will continue to work with their law enforcement partners around the world to recover and return illicit payments that corrupt overseas officials attempt to hide in the United States.”
“This case is an important example of the international cooperation necessary to address corruption abroad where illicit proceeds are brought to the United States,” stated Assistant Attorney General Polite. “The department is committed to doing its part to recover and repatriate such corruption proceeds where appropriate.”
In a civil forfeiture action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, United States v. $639,583.07, More Or Less, Formerly On Deposit In Bank Of America Account Number XXXXXXXX1655, With A Beneficiary Identified As The Havenell Trust, And All Funds Traceable Thereto, No. CV 19-5652, the United States alleged that Toledo, while holding public office as President of Peru, solicited millions in bribe payments from Odebrecht in connection with government contracts awarded for construction of the Peru-Brazil Southern Interoceanic Highway (“Southern Interoceanic Highway”), a Peruvian government infrastructure project. Odebrecht subsequently made bribery payments to Toledo through accounts maintained by Toledo’s co-conspirators. Ultimately, approximately $1.2 million of the bribery payments were used by Toledo and his family to purchase real estate in Maryland in 2007 through a scheme designed to hide Toledo’s ownership of the funds and their connection to Odebrecht. The forfeited assets represent the proceeds from the sale of the Maryland real estate, which were further laundered through a trust and bank account controlled by Toledo.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s tireless work in this case led to the assets forfeited in the United States being returned to the Republic of Peru. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura D. Mantell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and Trial Attorney Barbara Levy of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section handled the civil forfeiture cases. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance with the cases.
In support of the U.S. forfeiture actions, the Peruvian government provided extensive and wide-ranging assistance. Most notably, the documentary evidence provided by the Peruvian government included evidence necessary to seize assets located in the United States and substantially contributed to the timely success of the U.S. forfeiture actions.